First of all, I don’t enjoy gambling; and second, I really don’t know how to read a horse racing program. When it comes to betting on a horse race, I tend to look at the color of the Jockey’s silks or the name of the horse.

Last weekend a group of East Tennessee friends and I attended Keenland horse racing track near Lexington, KY for an afternoon “at the races.”  With a lot of laughs, good food, and a few beverages, we netted out with a loss of $26 – overall a good day.  It occurred to me later, on the drive home, that our random decisions for determining which horse to choose and how much to bet simply showed our ignorance and certainly a casual attitude toward our investments.  (To be truthful, the biggest bet we made on any race was only $10.)

During the past 18 years of consulting with hundreds of firms and certainly talking to thousands of people, I have witnessed the same ignorance and casual attitudes in managing sales teams. That happens because of many reasons: lack of good, pure sales management training programs, lack of previous exposure to sales leadership mentors, or poor management styles.

It happens in so many aspects of the job of sales leadership. I have often written about the many aspects of how to build a high performance sales team and the many challenges that any sales manager faces on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.

The challenge is to keep it simple with a focus on inspecting what you expect and building on accountability. What do I mean? Unlike reading a jam-packed statistical Racing Program that does not make sense  and acting randomly, sales leaders must follow a systematic process that begins with answering 10 Key Questions:

  1. What is your vision for the next 24 months? What are your goals?
  2. Do I have a quality recruiting and interview/selection process for new salespeople?
  3. Is there a new hire on-boarding program designed to ensure the new people are ready to sell?
  4. Do you have a quarterly plan to train your sales team on: products/services, sales skills, company operations?
  5. What are the 5 metrics you are using to predict future revenues and sales performance?
  6. Does your company have a strong value proposition and can your sales team articulate it?
  7. How are you creating an emotional buy-in by of your sales team to your organization?
  8. Is your sales compensation plan achieving the strategic goals of your organization?
  9. Are you following up on the details? Inspecting that your salespeople can sell, can discuss your products/services the way you want them to? Are you holding them accountable for results-is a real world way?
  10. Is everyone having fun? (This is a major focus most sales managers miss.)

Step by step you can logically and systematically become a high performing sales organization. If you have a challenge understanding this 10 step sales management “race program”, then let me know. It is our goal at Acumen to improve your odds of winning.


About the author

Ken Thoreson

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the…

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